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Essential Services

Keywords: Truck

Tags: Renault Trucks , Iveco , MAN

Post Date: November 03, 2020

The pandemic has hit annual sales figures in the Middle East and North Africa and it has also underlined the importance of road transport for economies and societies. A shift to online shopping will boost long-term demand.

Iveco Dump Truck

While the coronavirus pandemic has affected many elements of the transport and logistics business, it has also brought into stark relief the importance of the trucking industry, a vital lifeline in ensuring that supermarkets are stocked with food and other essentials. “I was very happy to hear that transport and logistics were classed as system relevant/essential services – I had never heard that before COVID-19. But of course it is an essential service transporting goods every day,” says Joerg Mommertz, Head of Sales Area MEALA, MAN Truck & Bus.

MAN launched its new generation of trucks in February, starting with the new TGX, but the MENA rollout will start in earnest in spring 2021, including in countries such as Algeria and Saudi Arabia where the CKD plants need to be reconfigured for the new models. Mommertz says the new range has a strong focus on driver comfort, safety, efficiency and connectivity, including features such as adaptive cruise control (requiring GPS).

MAN Trucks

Driver comfort hasn’t traditionally been a focus in the region, but that’s changing. “Getting qualified drivers will be a challenge in the future, and driver comfort also contributes to safety,” says Mommertz. “The new truck offers the service provider the highest standards of safety and comfort.” Connectivity includes remote services and diagnostics, telematics and integration of body building solutions into the steering and management controlling functions of the truck, so that cranes, lifts and other solutions can be operated without an additional controller device. With increased demand from end customers to be able to track their goods, the trucks also feature enhanced GPS navigation tools, including tracking trailer loading.

In Europe, improved fuel efficiency of 8.5% has been confirmed by the TÜV, Germany’s Technical Inspection Association. This will vary between MENA markets based on different emission standards, but Mommertz says: “Overall this represents a large fuel saving in today’s logistics business.” Regional fleet requirements increasingly resemble those in Europe, he says. “In MENA there is a higher demand for robustness; the truck has to be able to meet the climate and off-road applications. But there is greater demand for connectivity and service solutions around the vehicle – professional customers in MENA are demanding this to the same level as MAN customers in Europe.”

Nevertheless, from the point of view of the OEM and its in-country distributors, high-tech connectivity solutions providing diagnostic and maintenance information still rely on the core competence of being able to fix any problems with a customer’s vehicle in the workshop

MAN launched a new generation of trucks earlier this year, will rollout in MENA coming early next year.
MAN launched a new generation of trucks earlier this year, will rollout in MENA coming early next year.

“Therefore, the old-fashioned business of repairing a track in work in a workshop is very important, and here you have to have a large, dense and highly qualified service network with motivated and skilled mechanics,” says Mommertz. “The COVID-19 situation has shown that [our service network] is an asset for us. We never received a single customer complaint that he can’t operate his truck, even during the downtime in all of the countries.”

Looking at the business environment, Mommertz says some MENA countries are doing surprisingly well when it comes to the truck business, with demand stable due to requirements for fleet renewal. The development of e-commerce, especially in the GCC, is also set to drive additional demand, and MAN is increasingly marketing its TGE commercial van line, with GWV of 3.5- 5.5 tonnes, partly to cater to last-mile delivery needs. “What worries me a little bit is the liquidity in some markets, because liquidity – cash – depends strongly on the commodities, and we have seen oil & gas is currently not the most promising business sector in the future. This is a weakness in the economies in the North African countries and in the Middle East, and it’s something they need to overcome.”

Running costs

In Egypt, Renault Trucks’ fuel efficiency is applauded by customers, says a representative from Triangle Heavy Equipment, the distributor. This is further boosted by solutions such as Optifuel Infomax, a software that monitors the behavioural patterns of drivers and recommends actions to optimise fuel consumption.

Renault Trucks

“Chassis reinforcement, especially across model K and C ranges, also allows customers to make fewer round trips, allowing them to capitalise on productivity and robustness for work in extreme conditions,” he says. Other features include the widest windshield sizes available on the market and the highest approach angle, which are significant for driver comfort and safety.

The heavy-duty C and K range vehicles are popular, with the C range targeted at the on-road and construction sector, and the K range designed for severe conditions. The K range features an all-steel bumper, excellent ground clearance and the best approach angle on the market, while numerous chassis reinforcements make it suitable for even the toughest conditions, the representative says.

He adds: “The Renault Trucks C range is perfectly suited to long-distance applications (long haul). It features a high payload, low fuel consumption and excellent pulling power. Manoeuvrability and obstacle clearance capacity make it an excellent choice for professionals delivering materials in both highway and urban settings.”

Total cost of ownership is the main factor when purchasing a new commercial vehicle, with current figures showing that the cost of operating a vehicle for 500,000km is on average three times the purchase price, making it the major cost component for a commercial vehicle fleet.

Fuel efficiency is an attractive feature of Renault Trucks in the Egyptian market, says distributor Triangle Heavy Equipment.
Fuel efficiency is an attractive feature of Renault Trucks in the Egyptian market, says distributor Triangle Heavy Equipment.

“Triangle Heavy Equipment is dedicated to maintaining the long-term value of [our customers’] assets by utilising a network of local and international players that keep our trucks going,” he says.

These include driver training, service contracts, free inspections and buy backs, as well as operation analysis to improve driver attitude and fuel efficiency, and increase truck uptime. Overall, service network readiness and effective maintenance using genuine spare parts help eliminate unplanned downtime.

The representative adds that the Egyptian market is healthy, despite the impact of the pandemic. “Our market footing is strong and stable, as the market is thirsty for Renault Trucks’ quality. With easing restrictions, we expect to register stronger growth in 2021 and keep penetrating additional market segments.”

Local high-tech

IVECO has a strong position in North Africa, though with different penetration in each market, says Fabio De Serafini, Africa & Middle East Business Director, IVECO.

In Morocco and Tunisia, the firm has a high market share in the light range with Daily Chassis Cabs and vans with gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 3.5-7.2t, powered with a 3.0 litre engine with 146Hp (Euro 4 emission) with manual transmission and two engines 2.3l 136Hp and 3.0l 170Hp with automatic transmission (Euro 5 emission).

“Our Eurocargo range (medium range) is highly appreciated in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt,” says De Serafini. “In the heavy range we have two different models. The Stralis, for long haulage missions, is one of the market leaders in Morocco and Tunisia; and the Trakker, for heavy off-road, has a good penetration in all North Africa countries.”

Range 3 trakker

The IVECO models are the same as those sold in Europe, with technical modifications that make them suitable for North Africa, he says. “This means that we combine the European technological standards along with local expertise. This synergy has always been our winning point, and our brand has historically been known to be sensitive to the local requirements.”

Keeping vehicles running is of course essential for commercial vehicle customers. That means making sure service can be done in the shortest time possible, with spare parts in stock and workshops organised and equipped to repair vehicles and deliver on time.

A pioneer in new technologies to comply with the latest environmental regulations, IVECO supplies a wide range of low-emission vehicles, depending on local regulations. Developing alternative fuel powertrains is also a focus. “We will be ready to supply CNG [compressed natural gas] and hybrid vehicles as soon as the local markets will be ready. We believe that this will happen in a short period of time,” adds De Serafini.

Post Date: November 03, 2020


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